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    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The owner of a downtown Los Angeles building where an explosion injured 12 firefighters has been allowed to enter a judicial diversion program that allows him to avoid jail time and potentially have all charges dismissed. A court commissioner on Wednesday granted the diversion request for Steve Sungho Lee. He and his companies must pay more than $125,000 in investigative fees, make sure the property meets fire and building codes and arranging for Fire Department training. Lee owned a commercial building on East Boyd Street in the city’s Toy District that caught fire on May 16, 2020. Firefighters had to run for their lives when a ball of flames shot out the building and scorched a fire truck across the street. Firefighters inside the building had to run through a wall of flames he estimated as 30 feet (9 meters) high and wide, and those on the roof scrambled down a ladder that was engulfed in fire. Fire officials said the building was a warehouse for Smoke Tokes, a wholesale distributor of supplies for smoking...
    Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images The Biden administration’s top science adviser, Eric Lander, resigned Monday night following accusations he engaged in bullying of lower-level staffers. POLITICO reported on Monday that a two-month investigation concluded that Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, had disparaged others during his time serving the White House. Alex Thompson, reporting for POLITICO, wrote: Christian Peele, the White House’s deputy director of management and administration for personnel, said that the investigation also concluded that there was “credible evidence of disrespectful interactions with staff by Dr. Lander and OSTP leadership,” according to the roughly 20-minute briefing, which included a representative of the White House Counsel’s office. There was also “credible evidence” that Lander had spoken “harshly and disrespectfully to colleagues in front of other colleagues,” Peele said, according to the recording. “The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” Peele said in the recording. President Joe...
    Charges will not be filed against a Clifton police officer involved in a police chase that killed a 20-year-old Wyckoff motorcyclist in a 2019 pursuit, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. Officer John Ferraro attempted to pull over two motorcyclists after he suspected they were riding on stolen bikes around 1:50 a.m. June 17, 2019, authorities said. The riders refused to stop and Ferraro gave chase, pursuing the two motorcyclists through multiple red lights in a commercial district at speeds of up to 100 mph, the AG's office said. One of the motorcyclists was Frank A. Lovato, who ultimately died after speeding through a red light and being violently ejected from his motorcycle when he hit a vehicle that had the right of way, the investigation concluded. Police conducted CPR, to no avail, responders told Daily Voice. The fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and included a review of video footage and radio transmissions, interviews with witnesses, and autopsy results.  After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury completed...
    A government laboratory in California concluded in May 2020 that COVID-19 may have escaped from a facility in Wuhan, it has emerged, and recommended further investigation. Scientists at the the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, near Berkeley, analyzed the genetic makeup of the virus to try and understand how it evolved.  They passed their May 27, 2020 findings on to the State Department in October. The five month delay was not explained.  On January 15 the State Department published a fact sheet about COVID-19, which said that 'circumstantial' evidence suggested a lab leak theory was possible.  The secret document the California lab produced was not known about until Monday, when The Wall Street Journal reported on its existence. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in northern California produced a report on May 27, 2020, in which they found the idea that COVID-19 was man-made plausible, and merited further exploration. At the time, scientists were largely united in their argument that the virus started naturally, evolving from animals to humans The giant California facility has an annual budget of $2.5 billion and...
    In an interesting twist, Pennsylvania House representative Seth Grove has admitted that Republicans were responsible for voter fraud in the state during the 2020 election. Grove, who is also the chairman of the PA House State Government Committee, was among the Republicans who wanted Congress to reject the results from his state during the 2020 election. He conducted multiple hearings to question the state’s results in favor of Joe Biden, took part in events that revolved around election conspiracy theories, and spearheaded a letter that claimed administrative actions and legal rulings “undermined the lawful certification of Pennsylvania’s delegation to the Electoral College.” The Pennsylvania Capital-Star interviewed Grove to ask him about the 10 hearings he conducted on the 2020 vote, plus his sponsorship of legislation to eliminate absentee ballots while proposing voter ID. When reporter Stephen Caruso pressed Grove on his objections to the election results — asking him point-blank “Was there election fraud in 2020?” Here’s how that went: Grove: Yes, there was. They have confirmed cases of election fraud. Caruso: Who committed that fraud in Pennsylvania?...
    FORT HOOD, Texas – Fort Hood officials on Tuesday told the family of Vanessa Guillen, the U.S. Army specialist killed by another soldier in an armory at Fort Hood, that an investigation into her killing concluded she died “in the line of duty.” Officials announced Guillen’s family is entitled to a wide range of benefits for Guillen’s service to the country. Typically, benefits include compensation to immediately help the family with expenses, a funeral with full military honors, the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, and final pay and allowances. Fort Hood officials said that a line of duty determination is conducted for all soldier deaths. “This determination establishes that the Guillen family is entitled to a variety of Army benefits for Vanessa’s service to our nation,” Fort Hood officials said in a news release. Fort Hood officials say they will remain in contact with the Guillen family to keep them informed of additional actions taking place at Fort Hood and what policies are being revised to prevent a similar incident. More stories related to Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance: No link found...
    Governor Jared Polis issued a mandatory mask order for Colorado on July 16. That order was set to expire on October 12, but Polis just extended it for another thirty days, citing concerning figures about the spread of COVID-19 in the state. “This is the most worried I’ve been since mid-July,” the governor said at a press conference October 9. "We need to be better at wearing masks — not because I say to do it or because public-health officials say to do it," Polis explained. "It's because you care about your health and your family and your neighbors and your job. That's why we're doing it." Polis concluded with this: "Just wear a damn mask." These days, though, any discussion of masks quickly morphs from science into politics, as evidenced by the comments posted on the Westword Facebook story about Polis's extension of the mask order. Says Eron: Thanks for attempting to control this viral spread. So many ignorant people refuse to cooperate for the health of all. I will never understand the arrogant selfishness shown by these...
    Last March, a person with mild COVID-19 symptoms went to a two-and-a-half-hour long chorale practice in Skagit Valley, Washington. In the weeks that followed, more than fifty people — nearly everyone who attended that rehearsal — contracted the disease and two people died. Shelly Miller, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, led a recent study of that rehearsal, one of the nation’s first super-spreader events. The study states that singing indoors and unmasked can swiftly spread COVID-19 via microscopic airborne particles known as aerosols. In the study, she explains that although members of the chorale took precautions, like using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching each other or surfaces, and propping doors open, they didn’t wear masks. Members of the chorale were interviewed as part of the study, and researchers concluded that there simply were not enough opportunities for droplets and infected surfaces, known as fomites, to transmit the virus to the number of people who fell ill afterward. Related Stories How Denver's Open Mics Are Playing Out the Pandemic COVID-19: Focus on the Family Declared...
    Former FBI agent Peter Strzok said Thursday that “everybody” has rated his work as objective and not “based on personal political belief.” “Furthermore, there have been multiple investigations, two inspector general investigations, multiple U.S. attorneys who have looked at this matter and congressional committee after congressional committee examining all of this,” Strzok told CNN. “And everybody has concluded that my work and the work of the FBI was done objectively and without … anything based on personal political belief. And so I point people to the record and the facts.” (RELATED: Peter Strzok Sues FBI And DOJ Over Firing, Claims His Anti-Trump Texts Were Protected Free Speech) Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, for one, did not echo Strzok’s assertion. Gowdy specifically said that Strzok’s comments demonstrated a “level of bias that you rarely see” by public servants. Strzok lost his job with the bureau for a series of anti-Trump texts to his girlfriend of the time, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Asked to provide “context” to his remark to Page that he would “stop” then-candidate Donald Trump from being...
    The protest zone in Seattle that has been occupied by anti-police protesters for the past two weeks has mostly dissolved after several nights of shootings and calls from the mayor to end the protest, Fox News reported. Leaders of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, urged participants to continue their cause online. "This morning's census finds fewer than two dozen clustered near the East Precinct," a statement from the CHOP Twitter account said. "Eleven additional people are at the Space Needle. Last night's BLM march had 71 participants, a number we expect to continue to drop. It is time we shift to the next phase of our organizing and move from direct action to virtual activism." Image source: Twitter screenshot The statement called for supporters to vote for Joe Biden for president and to support re-election efforts of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D). The CHOP was established after a week of protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After...
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